Trustee explains Davisville School planning process
Letter to the Editor
The Toronto District School Board asked staff to explore delivering the Accommodation Review Committee’s approved program at Davisville Public School through a new building funded by redevelopment of the school site, and that is what staff is in the process of doing.
Similar to other public agencies, the board is faced with funding shortfalls and aging infrastructure. As of June 2012, the board’s deferred maintenance backlog is $3.26 billion and growing. To meet the demands of growing communities, like Davisville, the board has embarked on a citywide program to rebuild schools through a new funding model based on redeveloping a portion of school lands to create a mixed use site (school/residential/open space).
The existing school building and neighbouring schools cannot accommodate the growth in our community. The current Davisville building has a capacity of 384 students and contains a large number of smaller classrooms built for the Metro Toronto School for the Deaf. In order to accommodate the program as defined by the committee and approved by the board (English JK to grade 6, French immersion SK to grade 6 and Spectrum Alternative School grades 7 and 8), a larger Davisville school with appropriate sized classrooms is necessary. A new school will also significantly improve the quality of all learning spaces and eliminate Davisville’s deferred maintenance backlog of $8.3 million (including roof, ceiling and foundation repairs).
Firstly, to clarify, our board process begins with the school and the formation of the Local School Community Design Team which includes school staff, parents, childcare representatives and invited resident associations who recommended the development options that went forward to the broader community.
A well-attended June 18 open house for the parents of Davisville and Spectrum students discussed the redevelopment and community design team process and introduced the design team’s the preferred option to the broader school community.
Secondly, what comes out of the design team process goes to the board for approval. If approved, the board then seeks a development partner and only then will the process of completing the work to prepare a development application to file with the city. It is through the city’s process that broad resident engagement occurs. That is the role of the city, not the school board.
Thirdly, we are very clear that the proposal for the Davisville redevelopment as it currently sits will require an Official Plan amendment and re-zoning. We are attempting to shape our proposal, with local community input, to make the best use of our lands as possible providing for a local community school and amenities, significant green, open space running the full length of Millwood Road including new playgrounds and a sports field and residential density moving from 12 to seven stories moving east along the site on Davisville Avenue.
Lastly, we will be addressing traffic issues and public realm issues as we move forward, engaging fully with the city and their process for full community engagement when and if we file an application.
As the local trustee, my goal is to bring a great new school, community amenities and parkland, funded through residential development, to the Davisville community. Minutes of the design team and community updates for the Davisville redevelopment project can be found on my website at www.tdsb.on.ca/laskin. I look forward to providing further updates as the process continues this fall.
[align=right]Shelley Laskin Trustee,
Ward 11 St Paul’s
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